Vietnam could host AFF Cup on its own

By Dang Khoa   June 7, 2020 | 05:12 pm PT
Vietnam could host AFF Cup on its own
Vietnamese players wave the national flag on My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi after winning the AFF Championship, December 15, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Vietnam could end up hosting the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup 2020 on its own thanks to its effective handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) General Secretary Le Hoai Anh affirmed last weekend that a single host was one of the options being considered by the AFF.

In an official announcement last week , the ASEAN federation affirmed that it won't be postponing the championship until 2021 as earlier planned, and the tournament will take place from November 25 to December 31, soon after the World Cup 2022 qualifiers.

AFF also said it is considering switching the competition to its old format where the federation selects two countries to host the group stage for two groups of five teams each, then having the semi-finals played over two legs home and away.

Another option the federation is considering is having one country host the entire tournament, from group stage to the final match, given Covid-19 complications.

The AFF Cup had introduced the new format of having home and away matches for each team from the group stage to the final in 2018.

The federation said it is considering every solution over concerns the pandemic might not be contained by the end of this year, making it unsafe for football squads and fans to travel.

Anh said Vietnam has not received any official notice from the AFF about changing the tournament format, but added that anything can happen in the current situation.

If the AFF Cup opts to have the tournament played in just one country, Vietnam stands a great chance to host it because it would be considered a safe location after its demonstrated success in containing the pandemic.

Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia to have restarted its football tournaments and opened up stadiums for spectators.

The National Cup commenced May 23, making it the first football tournament to make a comeback after Vietnam eased it social distancing campaigns late April.

The match between Duoc Nam Ha Nam Dinh (Nam Dinh FC) and Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL FC) saw 10,000 spectators fill half of the Thien Truong Stadium in Nam Dinh Province, an event that made international headlines.

Vietnam’s Covid-19 active cases stand at 24 at present, 307 patients having recovered. The country has gone nearly two months without community transmission of the novel coronavirus.

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